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Given the daily challenges of raising a child with autism, it's easy for parents to lose sight of themselves, for their marriages to weaken or fall apart, and for their overall quality of life to plummet. Studies indicate high rates of depression among autism mums and that their depression does not usually subside with the passage of time. Susan Senator interweaves her own experiences raising an autistic child with the voices of parents, researchers, and professionals in the field to offer guidance and encouragement: Parents can take care of themselves while taking care of their children. Parents and families can have good lives even if their children aren't 'cured'. "The Autism Mom's Survival Guide" is unique among books about autism in that it is not primarily about how to parent an autistic child. Instead, it is written for the challenged parents themselves, understanding them to be individuals who need to find fun, happiness, validation, and fulfillment now - in the midst of struggle and hardship - in order to be healthy and whole.
Topics include strategies for: handling feelings of despair and hopelessness, caring for your marriage, finding a good balance between accepting your child and seeking new treatments, understanding the challenges of autistic adolescence, and looking toward your child's adulthood.
Susan Senator is the mother of three boys, the oldest of whom has autism. She is the author of Making Peace with Autism, a memoir of her family's struggles and triumphs. Her writing on autism has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. She has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, Voice of America, and NPR.